PSG follow Beckham swoop with 4-0 Toulouse rout
PARIS (Reuters) - Paris St Germain followed up their headline-grabbing swoop for David Beckham by crushing 10-man Toulouse 4-0 to open up a three-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 on Friday.
The leaders, who signed free-agent Beckham on Thursday, were without the former England captain who has flown back to his home country and will not start training until February 13.
Carlo Ancelotti's side eased to victory with goals by Javier Pastore, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with his 20th on his 20th league appearance for PSG, Mamadou Sakho and Gregory van der Wiel.
Brazil striker Lucas, another recent recruit, produced a fine performance and set up two of the goals.
PSG have 48 points from 23 games. Second-placed Olympique Lyon travel to AC Ajaccio on Sunday.
Pastore opened the scoring after four minutes with a volley from a cross by fellow Argentina international Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Ibrahimovic added a second goal nine minutes before halftime, heading home a perfect cross from Lucas.
Three minutes later Cheikh M'Bengue of Toulouse was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Lucas.
Ibrahimovic went close to a third goal on the hour when his canny lob was tipped over the bar by keeper Ali Ahamada.
France centre back Sakho extended PSG's advantage in the 70th minute by nodding in a Lucas centre.
Two minutes later Ibrahimovic bulldozed his way through the Toulouse defence before full back Van der Wiel connected with the Swede's pass to fire the ball past Ahamada.
PSG were without first-choice centre backs Thiago Silva and Alex but Toulouse barely threatened as keeper Salvatore Sirigu kept a clean sheet for the eighth league game in a row.
The absent Beckham needs a few weeks to restore full fitness after winning the Major League football title with Los Angeles Galaxy in December in his last competitive match.
"He'll come with us to Valencia for the Champions League (last 16) game the day before but will not play," French media quoted PSG sporting director Leonardo as saying about the February 12 clash. "The idea is he'll start training on February 13."
On Saturday, Stade Rennes will look to cement fourth place when they travel to Lorient for the Brittany derby.
Olympique Marseille, in third spot, host AS Nancy on Sunday.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Tony Jimenez and Ken Ferris)
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